Krsna consciousness cannot be limited by any material circumstances. It is the original spiritual consciousness of every living entity. The following is an excerpt from the upcoming biography of Srila Prabhupada, the founder of the Hare Krishna movement.
By flicks of chance one might have been obliged to adopt a profession which was not very adorable in the society, but that did not hamper one in the matter of executing devotional service of the Lord. Devotional service of the Lord is uncheckable in all circumstances. From the pages of the Srimad Bhagavatam we can understand that even 5000 years ago, there were prostitutes in a city like Dwarka where Lord Krishna resided. The prostitutes are necessary citizens for proper upkeep of the society. The government opens wine shops but it does not mean that government encourages drinking of wine. The idea is that there is a class of men who will drink at any cost and it has been experimented that prohibition in great cities encouraged illicit smuggling of wine by different venues. Similarly a class of men who are not satisfied at home do require such concessions. If there is no prostitute to satisfty their lust, such low class of men induce other women to prostitution. It is better that prostitutes are available in the market place so that sanctity of the society is maintained. It is better to maintain a class of prostitutes than to encourage wholesale prostitution within the society. The real reformation is to enlighten all people to become devotees of the Lord and that will check all kinds of deteriorating factors of life.
Sri Bilvamangala Thakura, a great acharya of the Vishnusvami Vaishnava sect in his householder life was too much attached to a prostitute who happened to be a devotee of the Lord. One night when the Thakura came to Cintamani's house in torrents of rain and a thunder, Cintamani was astonished to see how the Thakur could come in such dreadful night after crossing a foaming river which was full of waves and water. She said to Thakur Bilvamangala that his attraction for the flesh and bone of an insignificant woman like her would have been properly utilised if it could be diverted to devotional service of the Lord to achieve such attraction for the transcendental beauty of the Lord. It was a momentous hour for the Thakur and he took a turn towards spiritual realisation by the words of a prostitute. Later on the Thakura accepted Cintamani prostitute as his spiritual master and at several places of his literary works he has glorified the name of Cintamani who showed him the right path.
In the Bhagavad-gita (Bg. 9.32) the Lord says as follows "O son of Pritha, even the low born candalas and those who are born in the family of unbelievers or even the prostitutes, shall attain perfection of life, if they take shelter of My unalloyed devotional service. In the path of devotional service there are no impediments on account of degraded birth and occupation. The path is open for everyone who agrees to follow it."
From the descriptions of the Srimad Bhagavatam it appears that the prostitutes of Dwarka who were so much eager to meet the Lord were all His unalloyed devotees; and as such they were all on the path of salvation according to the above statement of the Bhagvad-gita. Therefore, the only reformation that is necessary in the society is to make organised effort to turn the citizens to be devotees of the Lord and thus all good qualities of the denizens of heaven will overtake them in their own way. On the other hand, those who are unbeliever-non-devotees, have no good qualification whatsoever, however materially advanced they may be. The difference is that the devotees of the Lord are on the path of liberation, whereas the nondevotee-unbelievers are on the path of further entanglement of material bondage. The criterion of advancement of civilization is to see whether the people are educated and advanced on the path of salvation.